Danny Rocks The Court
By Colby Merrill, Reporter
I entered the VHS office. I had arranged a meeting with VHS Principal Charles D. Rock, and eagerly anticipated seeing Rock shoot hoops. When I arrived he was meeting with superintendent Slade McSheehy, but after receiving word that I had arrived.
Rock unlocked the gym and walked inside as I struggled to keep up and get my questions ready. A single basketball in the court sat waiting for Rock, it was almost like he’d been called to it. Before I even began the interview he took a shot. He missed but came back with another, this time making the basket. That’s when I knew this was no joke.
I eased Rock into the interview by asking what inspired him to become a principal. Rock turned to shoot another basket without breaking his concentration.
“My goal in being principal is to bring the best possible form of leadership to students. So my frustration in being a teacher was that I saw barriers to serving the students amongst the adults,” Rock said.
Rock spent six years prior to his time at VHS as a professor of psychology at Whitworth College, and during his time there he kept a close eye on the ways in which he could improve school for students. This led me to wonder more about where Rock got his education and what led him to be a teacher.
After his sophomore year of college Rock began studying to be an educator after spending the prior two years studying psychology. Now, as principal, Rock still uses the skills he learned from his psychology classes.
“I’ve always been interested in why people do what they do, and I would say that interest has the most connection to how I help adults try to help students,” Rock said.
As we walked back to the office, I asked how Rock believed he supported the student body.
“One of the best ways I support students is to turn the power to them whenever possible, to say yes as often as possible, and to practice distributed leadership,” Rock said.
Rock also spoke about ways he may improve on helping students.
“Setting up better structures and supports for students who are struggling, [because] we aren’t always as coordinated or quite as aligned in that support as we could be,” Rock said .
In my final moments of our interview, I asked Rock about his favorite part of the job and what the most difficult part is.
“[I love] school events when students are participating in school spirit through homecoming or big athletics events together. I also love seeing students overcome when they were previously struggling,” Rock said. As for what was most difficult about being a principal, “[making] decisions that I know are the right decisions but are ones that are hard for students, so I take no personal pleasure [in assigning] consequences or to assign limits or boundaries”
After reflecting on my time with Rock, one thing that remained with me was something he said early on in the interview.
“Good leadership can be powerful. And do good things,” Rock said.
Rock is grateful for his position despite the difficult parts. Overall, in our time together, Rock scored twelve baskets, four of which were three pointers, all while making it look easy.